There are so many great stories within the “Christmas Story” found in the Bible. Sunday, as we talked about the messenger angel (Herald) visiting Mary, we zoomed right past a great one. Luke 1:39-45 tells the story:
39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
The mother-to-be of Jesus just HAPPENS to be related to the ONLY other woman on the planet who is ALSO about to give birth to a child announced by the angel Gabriel. Elizabeth, who is much older and highly respected by Mary just HAPPENS to totally reassure Mary that she has in fact been visited by an angel…that she is in fact taking part in a miraculous story…that she is blessed by God because of her belief and obedience. God’s spirit speaking through Mary’s respected relative Elizabeth had to be a HUGE encouragement to a frightened young girl whose life had been turned completely up side down.
I love the story of Mary and Elizabeth because it reminds me of how God uses community to strengthen and encourage us. I appreciate so much that God didn’t just leave Mary and Elizabeth isolated, in a time that was sure to intensely test their faith and courage. Their relationship must have greatly encouraged both of them. This story shows that God lovingly pre-planned a connection between the two women on earth most likely to be able to relate to each others truly peculiar situation.
I Love that. And I’m so thankful that God is STILL in the connection and encouragement “business” when we need it most.